Monday, January 13, 2014

She-Crab Soup

As you know, I grew up "in the Marine Corps" and moved every three years.  It's hard to call any one place home, but since my family moved to Chesapeake the summer before my senior year in high school (yes, I survived!), and I lived there for the next eleven years, I consider Hampton Roads home.  And there isn't a dish that says Chesapeake like she-crab soup!  I've served this as a meal on its own, along with a big green salad, or as a first course for Christmas dinner (served in china teacups, as pictured).  It's elegant, super easy, and delicious!

1 pound quality crab meat, picked over for shells
4 cups seafood stock
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (about 3 leeks)
3 cloves chopped garlic
pinch of cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
1/4 cup brandy
1/4 cup dry sherry
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups half-and-half
1/3 cup tomato paste
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven.  Add the leeks and cook 10 minutes over medium-low heat, or until the leeks are tender but not browned.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.  Add the cayenne and cook over medium to low heat for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the brandy and cook for 1 minute, then the sherry and cook for 3 minutes longer.  Transfer to a food processor (or blender) and process until coarsely pureed.

In the same pot, melt the butter.  Add the flour and cook over medium-low heat for 1 minute, stirring with a wooden spoon.  Add the half-and-half and cook, stirring with a whisk, until thickened, about 3 minutes.  Stir in the pureed leek mixture, crab, stock, tomato paste, salt, and pepper and heat gently until hot but not boiling.  Season to taste and serve hot.

May be made ahead!

Serve 4-6.

Recipe adapted from Barefoot Contessa at Home by Ina Garten.

Miz Helen’s Country Cottage
That's right!  A SECOND feature at Miz Helen's!


  1. Yowza! This soup looks awesome! I can't wait to pick up some crab at the market this winter... and give this a try.

  2. I love she crab soup. Never tried to make it myself. This looks good.

  3. Hi Kate,
    Your She-Crab Soup is awesome, we made it yesterday for lunch and I had it on my FB page. Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday. Hope you are having a great week end and come back soon!
    Miz Helen

  4. We are such soup lovers at our house. This one looks really great!

  5. Congratulations!
    Your recipe is featured on Full Plate Thursday this week. Hope you are having a great week and enjoy your new Red Plate!
    Come Back Soon,
    Miz Helen

  6. Hi Kate, crab soup sounds absolutely fabulous. I shall have to try it soon. I recently found your blog and hope to follow often. Please pop on over to mine and I would love it if you would follow me also. Hugs, Chris

  7. Hi Kate, this looks delicious! I live in Northern California which is known for Dungeness crab, which will be coming into season soon, so I can't wait to make this! Thanks so much for sharing this recipe with Sunday Night Soup Night. I'll be hosting weekly through fall and winter, so I'd love to see you again with your next soup/stock/chowder recipe!

  8. Awesome, Katie. I happen to love anything with crab. When we get crab meat in New Jersey, it's AWESOME. Thanks so much. Linda

  9. Congratulations!
    Your recipe is featured on Full Plate Thursday this week. Enjoy your new Red Plate and have a great weekend.
    Miz Helen